Mu­si­cal Ride en­ter­tains

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - ELISABETHD­OWSON edow­[email protected]­booster.com

Rid­ers and horses per­form in for­ma­tion to mu­sic dur­ing the RCMP Mu­si­cal Ride in Swift Cur­rent.

Hud­dled un­der blan­kets and um­brel­las, an ap­pre­cia­tive crowd braved the un­re­lent­ing wind and rain to watch 32 horses and rid­ers per­form the his­toric cav­alry drills set to mu­sic, known col­lec­tively as the RCMP Mu­si­cal Ride. There were two per­for­mances May 26 and 27 at Ki­netic Park.

Open­ing with a pre­sen­ta­tion cour­tesy of the Liv­ing Sky Casino to pro­mote their up­com­ing sec­ond An­nual Pow Wow July 5 - 6, the au­di­ence was treated to flute play­ing and singing in ad­di­tion to drum­ming and vari­a­tions of the chicken and jin­gle (heal­ing) dances.

As the RCMP and horses filled the arena, Cy­press Hills-Grass­lands MP David An­der­son ac­cepted the tra­di­tional salute that is an im­por­tant part of many for­mal eques­trian per­for­mances.

The spongy foot­ing in the arena was bet­ter once the horses had packed it down a bit, and the brac­ing weather kept them in high spir­its through­out the pre­sen­ta­tion. The horses must be able to ex­e­cute the var­i­ous drills at the walk, trot and can­ter.

The con­clu­sion of the per­for­mance was the March Past per­formed to the mu­sic of the RCMP’s Reg­i­men­tal March. A sec­ond salute was af­forded the guest of hon­our as they left the arena.

Per­haps the most en­joy­able part of the evening was the chance to meet the horses and rid­ers in Barn 6 af­ter the show, in rel­a­tive warmth and com­fort. Ev­ery day, the horses chomp through 568 kilo­grams of Ti­mothy hay, 57kilo­gram­sof oats and 170kilo­gram­sof com­plete feed dur­ing their stay, and bed down in 72 bales of pine shav­ings.

With names like Africa, Turbo, Cop­per, Hec­tor, Vimy, Sher­iff, Steele and Renoir, and with per­son­al­i­ties as di­verse as their names, these horses are more than se­lec­tively bred Thor­ough­breds and Hanove­ri­ans; they are heroes to mil­lions of peo­ple around the world.

At the re­spectable age of 22, Hec­tor is the old­est equine in the show this year, and has earned the right to be a lit­tle nippy as he an­tic­i­pates his well-de­served din­ner. “He thinks ev­ery­thing in your hand is a car­rot,” ex­plained his rider to the very young chil­dren who were ea­ger to pet him.

Ev­ery other year, equine en­thu­si­asts have a chance to pur­chase sur­plus RCMP horses, brood mares or for­mer Mu­si­cal Ride horses at the RCMP Horse Auc­tion held in Ot­tawa. Sell­ing prices from the 2009 auc­tion ranged from $4,000 to $23,500. Some horses may be Hanove­rian cer­ti­fied, mean­ing they meet strict con­for­ma­tion stan­dards. For in­for­ma­tion on this year’s auc­tion, e-mail [email protected] with Horse Auc­tion as the sub­ject.

Rid­ers and horses show fine form as they trot in for­ma­tion to mu­sic dur­ing the RCMP Mu­si­cal Ride in Swift Cur­rent.

First Nations dancers open the RCMP Mu­si­cal Ride and helped pro­mote the Liv­ing Sky Casino’s sec­ond An­nual Pow Wow on July 5 - 7.

“Ro­camo” was the Of­fi­cial Equine Greeter as Barn 6 at Ki­netic Park was opened to the pub­lic fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s per­for­mance of the RCMP Mu­si­cal Ride. All rid­ers have to feed their horses and clean their tack as they an­swer ques­tions and hand out...

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